It’s his 2 am feeding. Walking into the living room to sit in our comfy chair for the next hour. It’s quiet and I enjoy his soft skin and big eyes looking up at me. The after-hours bar is open, The Milk Bar. It’s actually always open, but in the wee hours of night, I like to pretend it’s an after-hours club that only those in the know can get into.
With his birth has come the birth of something else. Fear of death. First and foremost his with Sparky and I taking up the next spots. I can’t actually let go of this fear and the more I try not to think about it, the bigger it becomes. So then I think about it and plan for Sparky’s and my demise. Who would take over? How would Max be cared for? Do we have enough life insurance? All good things to think about perhaps once and then talk to a lawyer, but that is not how my brain works.
I have talked to Sparky who listens to my macabre plans, but we don’t actually accomplish anything more than I’m really imaginative at coming up with how we die and scenarios that piss me off if I die first. Do not let Mutti raise Max! Move back to America. Who would care for Max like I would and how do I ensure in the case of my death that he gets everything I want for him?
At 2 am, walking towards that comfy chair, Kiska is sleeping. She’s on her back with her legs, all four, straight up in the air. I pause, waiting for some sort of movement like I do when I can’t hear Max breath. She’s too old to sleep that way. I say her name softly and she stirs, still not moving from the “legs up“ position, mocking my fear, damn cat.
Three a.m. and Max is asleep. Milk-drunk. Once again, The Milk Bar doesn’t disappoint. Good thing he’s got a ride home.
Back to the bedroom and to Sparky. We establish our space again. No pillows, only an empty duvet cover for Sparky and I, Max swaddled in the middle, Sparky at the other end. We’ve got it down. Max isn’t too close, but close enough that I can watch for those breath movements or reach out and touch him when I need to.
I hear a whisper of a breath. It sounds just like the final exhalation of the dead. I look over at Sparky, is he moving? I can’t tell. In a second, I imagine that the headache he had last night was really an aneurysm and he’s just died. The panic wells up in my throat when it hits me. It smells like death, but it was from a completely different part of his anatomy. I cover Max and I for a few minutes while the scent dissipates.
I’m hoping this death thing passes soon. I don’t know if it’s new baby fears or hormones or just my anxiety finally settling down for a long visit. All I know is that cats should be able to sleep unmolested and I really don’t want to live my life being thankful for Sparky’s SBDs.